Sunday, 29 January 2017

London health chiefs facing A&E crisis spend £2.3m on management consultants

Health chiefs in a part of London where hospitals have run out of beds this winter have spent £2.3 million on management consultants, it can be revealed.
The 19 contracts include six-figure payments to firms including McKinsey and Deloitte at a time when an estimated £876 million needs to be cut from the NHS in five north London boroughs.
Two of the area’s hospitals, the Whittington in Archway and North Middlesex in Edmonton, have not had a single spare bed on numerous occasions since the start of the year due to unprecedented winter pressures, NHS England figures show.
The consultants were hired to draw up the sustainability and transformation plan [STP] for North Central London, which covers Islington, Camden, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey. This blueprint outlines how services should be pared back to cope with dwindling resources for the health service.
A freedom of information response to the British Medical Association revealed that one firm, Methods Advisory, was paid £617,850 in the year to last November for “programme management and strategy support”.
McKinsey was paid £360,000 for proposals to change mental health services. Deloitte received £267,336 for finance modelling and “development of governance models”. Carnall Farrar, a management consultancy run by former NHS London chief executive Dame Ruth Carnall, was paid £115,882 for a review of “commissioning arrangements”.
Dr Farah Jameel, a Camden GP and chair of the borough’s local medical committee, described the expenditure on consultants as “shocking, disgusting, appalling and ultimately not surprising”. She said: “We are in the midst of a winter crisis. These monies would be much better spent on frontline services like A&Es and general practice.”
BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter said “every penny” of NHS cash was vital at a time when hospitals were in “crisis” due to the collapse of social care. He questioned how many proposals within the “vast, bewildering” STP plans would come to fruition.
He added: “Doctors will find it galling to see that so much vital resource has been handed to consultancy firms for their part in plans which, ultimately, may never come to fruition.”
The Standard revealed last year that the five STPs in London aim to axe £4.5 billion from the capital’s health services by 2020.
The North Central London STP warns of a shortage of GPs and A&E consultants and missed opportunities to detect cancer early due to the “huge shortfall” in diagnostic equipment. It said that action was needed to address the increased demands from an ageing and growing population. 
David Stout, programme director for North Central London STP, said: “The use of management consultants to support strategy development is usual across the NHS. Unlike some other STPs across the country, there has been no recent history of strategy development for health and care services across North Central London. 
“The level of spending on consultancy and project management reflects the need to develop the plans at speed. We expect the level of consultancy spend on the STP to reduce in future years.”
Evening Standard

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